Kidvid to boom at Bohbot

Distrib to expand to full-blown network with $100 mil backing

Kidvid distribber Bohbot Entertainment says it has lined up $100 million in financing to expand its syndie program slate into an ad-hoc broadcast web under the Bohbot Kids Network banner next year.

Rick Ungar, formerly a top programming exec for New World Entertainment and Marvel Studios, has been named CEO of the expanded BKN venture, set to bow Aug. 29, 1999.

Bohbot says it is in the midst of negotiating long-term affiliation deals with many of the major-market stations that carry its cartoon fare.

Bohbot aims to more than double its program slate to at least 24 hours of programming per week. The BKN-branded “network” would be delivered Sunday-Friday, sidestepping the intense competish on Saturday mornings among Fox Kids, the WB Network’s Kids’ WB and a Disney-reinvigorated ABC.

The timing of Bohbot’s move is curious. Outside of the Fox, ABC and WB juggernaut, more and more local stations are giving up on syndie kidvid fare in the face of shrinking ratings and revenue. Even the cable market for kidvid eyeballs is heating up among the long-dominant Nickelodeon, the new Fox Family and Toon Disney channels and Time Warner’s fast-growing Cartoon Network.

Bohbot Entertainment chairman Allan Bohbot says his Gotham-based outfit has lined up $100 million from a consortium of banks and investors to acquire programming and cover marketing and promotional costs. The indie distrib and ad sales outfit, which last year postponed plans for a public stock offering, is understood to have had financial struggles in the past, so it remains to be seen how stations will respond to the expanded BKN proposal.

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